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August 1, 2017 No Comments

Over the summer I write new resources for teachers. Often they are based upon needs I see with my own students. Here are 2 new items I added in July: These passages start off with an intriguing question. Perhaps something you have been wondering yourself ❉ Can I Make My Parents’ Hair Turn Gray? ❉ Where Do Marshmallows Come From? ❉ Can I Sneeze In My Sleep? ❉ Did Castle Moats Have Alligators? ❉ What’s a…

The Candy Corn Contest Comprehension Questions and Book Study

November 12, 2016 No Comments

Do you do book studies with your students? The Candy Corn Contest by Patricia Reilly Giff is an enjoyable early chapter book to use for a children’s book club. This book is part of The Kids of the Polk Street School series. Elementary students can easily relate to these 2nd graders and the challenges school life can bring. In order to extend this story and meet curriculum objectives, I created Candy Corn Contest comprehension questions and…

4 Ways to Explain Wampanoag Life During the 1600s to Elementary Students

November 2, 2016 No Comments

The Wampanoag tribe lived, hunted, and farmed the area we call Plymouth long before the Pilgrims arrived. Often teachers will touch upon these native people when discussing the First Thanksgiving. I wanted to provide my students with a much deeper background about the Wampanoag nation that went beyond the stereotypical “they helped the Pilgrims survive”. It is important to honor the heritage of the indigenous people that inhabited North America for thousands of years. Wampanoag Houses…

Wolves – Facts or Fables?

October 19, 2016 No Comments

Wolves ~ does the word conjure up fear, awe, or curiosity? Well known stories such as Little Red Riding Hood portray the wolf character as scheming, deceitful, and blood thirsty. Then there is the story of The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. The huffing and puffing character is determined to have his ham dinner. Hollywood has scared audiences with the murderous werewolf whose haunting howls in the night are intended to bring fear…

Using Mentor Texts to Teach Nonfiction

October 2, 2016 1 Comment

I’m thrilled to share with you one of my favorite children’s author / illustrator: Gail Gibbons. Today we are going to examine nonfiction text features through her book titled The Pumpkin Book.   Identifying Nonfiction Text Features Gail Gibbons is a prolific author of informational texts for elementary readers. She is a master at weaving text and nonfiction elements with detailed illustrations and diagrams. That is why Gail Gibbons’ books are perfect to use as mentor…

Frog and Toad: Facts and Fiction

September 22, 2016 No Comments

Arnold Lobel’s beloved characters Frog and Toad are popular stories with developing readers. The characters in this series  provide a great opportunity to practice the skills of compare and contrast. I like to use this story as a launching opportunity to read and write about factual information about frogs and toads. We continue the skill of comparing and contrasting by having the  students analyze a table of data that I created about frogs and toads. Did…

Organizing Classroom Libraries

August 20, 2016 No Comments

Research has proven that exemplary classrooms have an extensive collection of books for their students to read independently each day. The challenge is how to manage and organize all those books.  An efficient classroom library is one that is easy for children to find the books they are looking for, plus empowers them to return the books to the proper place when they are finished. Here are some ideas to consider: Many teachers use baskets to…

Children’s Books Kids Love and Remember

August 14, 2016 2 Comments

Today I wanted to spotlight some of my class favorite read alouds. I like my students to hear stories that engage their minds and emotions, make them laugh, or touch their heart. They will often refer to these stories and characters throughout the year as we make connections to other stories they read in class. One of our beloved characters is Strega Nona created by Tomie dePaola. Each year, I launch our first author study about…

Empowering Your Students for Success

July 24, 2016 No Comments

What’s the difference between enabling our students versus empowering them? It was a thought-provoking question asked at a conference I attended. For some, the words are synonymous. For those with a background in psychology, there were clear differences. To be an enabler means you are providing support to another person who is unable to function successfully on their own. It is a co-dependent relationship. It is the enabler who knows what to do. Someone who is…

Hi! I'm Alison

My #1 passion is all things literacy! I'm a curriculum creator and literacy specialist with over 30 years teaching in elementary classrooms. My goal is to share creative and engaging ways to grow your students and are easy to implement and academically sound. You can expect to find teaching tips to boost your confidence and grow your learners. You don't have to do this alone! I'm the support you've been looking for. I'm so glad you are here!

About the Literacy Garden

When I started teaching, I quickly realized that student teaching didn't prepare me for the real challenges of being alone in a classroom full of young children. The learning curve was steep and time was limited. That is why I created the Literacy Garden. My hope is this will be a place for inspiration, mentoring, and connecting.

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